We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Cave and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I’ve been selling photographic prints to customers and interior designers for years, but it wasn’t until recently where I started using print sales to fund social change. Initially, I kind of stumbled into selling prints: back in 2016, I shared some photographs I made in Joshua Tree, which caught the eye of a famous interior designer who started selling my prints to design-loving people across the globe. For a long time, I couldn’t believe that people were willing to spend money putting my work up on their walls and looking back on it now, I think that was a form of imposter syndrome.
But after a few years, my print business started representing who I was as a photographer, not who I was becoming. I hear a lot about popular instagram spots and how the tourists who follow can overrun an environment and its community. I didn’t want to exploit the landscape I was photographing. I wanted my prints to stand for something. I also spent a lot of 2020 sitting around at home watching the world around me descend into chaos, and thinking “what can I do to help”.
So last year I launched a new initiative to pair prints up with causes that affect the area in which they were photographed. Right now I have 5 prints on my own online shop, supporting causes from Native American land rights to immigration reform, from natural resource protection to childhood cancer research. The prints are made as a limited edition of 25 and a portion of each print sale goes to support various charities in each of these causes. Each print is 24×30″ in size, which personally is my favorite size because it’s not too big for the frame shops and you can usually add a window mat to it as well.
In addition to that I’m planning to release a few new prints in the coming months in conjunction with a few home decor retailers and interior designers across the country, supporting causes they love most.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
It’s been a journey to say the least! I worked in the photo & production industry for over a decade, working in camera stores, photo labs, rental houses, and as a 2nd AC & on-set still photographers for movies, commercials, and music videos.
The problem is, working in the production industry is creatively draining. You’re working 12-16 hour days and the last thing you want to is pick up a camera when you have a rare day off. Eventually I used those photo/video skills to transition into marketing full time, and I started using my free-time to pursue a more creative side of photography. Having a normal work schedule for the first time in my life allowed me to turn into more of that cliche’d weekend warrior type. At first I’d pack my weekends with camping trips but it continued to escalate until I was taking bigger and bigger excursions, all for photography.
I’ll never NOT photograph but creative ambitions comes in waves. The pandemic has made that challenging but I’m an optimist, so I’m hoping that 2022 will bring more creative focus than the past couple years.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I moved to Los Angeles in 2008 as a naive 21 year old, and I’ve think what’s kept me here is the fact that its one of the few places where you can constantly reinvent yourself. It’s changed a lot since I first got here (RIP Smog Cutter), but I still genuinely love it here. If I had a friend visiting for a weekend, it would probably look something like this:
-Pick them up from LAX (because that’s the kind of ride or die friend I am)
-Since my friend is probably tired from their flight in, we’ll keep it mellow. Dinner at Woon, followed by drinks at 1642. Woon makes these incredible handmade home-style Chinese noodles and is just down the street from the best craft beer & wine speakeasy in LA: 1642.
-Cliff jumping in Santa Anita canyon. A great spot near Pasadena for cliff jumping. The canyon is filled with ivy and blackberry bushes, has a bunch of 100+ year old cabins and a pack station that offers BBQ (and sometimes live music!) on the weekends.
-Post hike beers at Angel City Brewery. There are lots of new breweries in the area but this one definitely has the best vibe.
-Dinner at Red Lion Tavern. Legit German beer hall in Silverlake. I took my German uncle after he had been living/working in China for years and he literally cried because it reminded him of home. Get the weisswurst. You can thank me later.
-Dancing in Cumbia night at La Cita. Bars come and go from Los Angeles all the time but La Cita is forever.
-Al Pastor tacos at the stand on National and Sepulveda. If you don’t get street tacos while you’re here, did you ever really visit?
-Antique market at Santa Monica Airport followed by art gallery browsing at Bergamot Station. People drive in from all over Southern California (and beyond!) for the Pasadena Flea Market, which is exactly why I go to the one at the Santa Monica Airport. Bergamot Station is a former rail yard (circa 1875!) turned into a series of art galleries. One of my all time favorite photographers, Corey Arnold, showcases some of his work at Richard Heller Gallery at Beramot.
-Lunch at Apple Pan. LA might be known for tacos but it’s also the best burger city in the world. This is the hill I will die on. Not only did we give the world the chili burger, the bacon avocado burger, and the invention of the drive-thru, LA is also home to Apple Pan, Tommy Burger, Marty’s, Father Office, Umami Burger and In n Out.
-Drinks at the Purple Orchid, a Tiki Bar in El Segundo, before dropping hypothetical friend off at the airport
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Brendan Klein. Incredible photographer. Good buddy of mine. He used to work at the local camera shop nearly two decades ago, in addition to being an incredibly talented skateboard photographer. I was an obnoxious little grom who’d go into the shop get my film developed. He’d always take my developed photos out and critique them harder than anyone I had met up until that point but it helped me turn into the photographer I am today. Eventually I mustered up the courage to ask him to get me a job there, which he did, and it’s been the basis of every job I’ve had since.